Following both teams’ performances in week one, predicting the winner of this weekend’s bout between the NC State Wolfpack and the Old Dominion Monarchs is a toss up. NC State skated by with a 24-23 win over Georgia Southern, performing mostly in the second half of the game, while ODU had a bit more of a marginal win of 41-28 against Hampton.
This was ODU’s first game as a member of Conference USA and their only game versus a Football Championship Subdivision team this season. They now have a schedule that features 11 Football Bowl Subdivision teams with their first FBS opponent being NC State.
Last weekend’s game was the first for NC State’s new quarterback, Florida transfer Jacoby Brissett, who threw for 291 yards and three second-half touchdowns. The team trailed 17-3 at halftime and didn’t wake up until the third quarter.
Key players to be watching for Saturday’s game will be junior running back Shadrach Thorton who ran for 73 yards on 10 carries along with sophomore wide receiver Bra’Lon Cherry who was responsible for two touchdown catches in the season opener.
ODU is playing with a young team this season, a total of 16 newcomers including nine freshmen. There were some notable mistakes on offense in their game against Hampton, including two picks, but the overall numbers (29 of 40 for 281 yards) for senior quarterback Taylor Heinicke were okay. Another player to keep an eye on this Saturday will be sophomore running back Gerard Johnson who ran for 138 yards on 22 carries in the season opener.
The two teams will meet in Raleigh Saturday at 6 p.m.
*Section Photo credit to Jeremy McKnight, Icon SMI ; Featured Photo (above) credit to (AP photo/News&Observer)